There’s no story that touches those of us that work in TV news more deeply than the death of a child. Whether it be by accident or something more sinister way, it’s never easy to talk about and the shock and suddenness of it all can leave a family and a community stunned. Such was the case of Lexa Cleland. The seven-year-old was recently killed in an auto accident.
Her death left all who call the community of South Park in a state of mourning. However, like all things, the initial grief dissipates and life does go forward. It often leave only the family and close friends to continue to mourn and to remember. However, this is not the case in South PArk. That is where Lexa’s memory is being kept alive … by a somewhat surprising group of people.
Lexa would have entered South Park high school in the late stages of this decade. Now, a school which she will never attend is paying tribute to her … and helping her family. South Park student Katrina Lenhart, with the help of her fellow student Nicolette Kalafatis came up with something they call “Dear Lexa”. Nicolette explains the concept to me during a visit to the scool Monday night. The idea is quite simple. Raise money to donate to the Cleland Family fund which is in Lexa’s name. From passing around the donation jar at Monday’s girls basketball game to planning a fun night for the students at Lexa’s elementary school, the girls and their fellow students are on a mission to not only raise money but keep her memory alive.
They have even started a Facebook page ebpage which is gaining more and more members every day. It’s quite an effort for young people who didn’t know the little girl, but know what her death means to her family and community. It’s not only selfless, but it’s also inspiring to see young people think and act beyond themselves.
The kind of thing I’m sure Lexa Cleland would have done for someone else.